IDENTITY FORMATION: Prayer & Reflection

IDENTITY FORMATION: Prayer & Reflection

Overview: 1) What NOT to draw our identities from 2) What we SHOULD draw our identities from 3) How to live out our identity What NOT to draw our identities from   Talent Dear Lord Jesus, I thank you for every talent and skill you have given me. LORD, I also humble myself and repent for any resentment I may have towards you for NOT giving me certain talents. Even as I remain grateful for the talents you have given me, please Lord, do not allow me to make these talents  my reigning identity. The world values my talents more than it values me. The world values what I do more than it values who I am. Teach me Holy Spirit, to reject this paradigm. Teach me never to measure my worth by my talents. Lord, even as the world is constantly thrusting its talent-based identity on me, help me to resist this. Help me remember that a talent-based identity will never bring real fulfillment. Lord, I repent also for the times when I have felt insecure or threatened when  another person with similar or better talent shows up in my circle of influence. Holy Spirit, please help me experience the truth that God’s love for me is not based on my talents. In doing so, help me peel away my talent-based identity and put on the identity of being a child of God, created in a unique way for His good pleasure. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen! 2. Circumstances ABBA Father, Every day, a new set of circumstances unfold in my life. Some are good, some are...
How to Create The Best Church for People Who Don’t Care

How to Create The Best Church for People Who Don’t Care

By Anand Mahadevan For far too long, I lived under the strong impression that worship was an exclusive two-way relationship between Christians and God. My idea of worship was eyes closed, arms raised, heart in bliss, unaware of all that was around me — just me and Him. Sure, there were other Christians around me as I enjoyed public worship on Sundays. Yes, it helped to have them around me. Yes, we all moved to a common rhythm. But I danced alone with God in worship. These were my private and intimate moments with Him. As much as I enjoyed this idea of worship for many years, about 10 years ago, I started feeling uneasy about it. I began to wonder if I had reduced public worship to something less than God had intended it to be in a fallen world. The reason for my discomfort was, of course, the non-Christian. I was oblivious to him in public worship and more often than not, the culture and vocabulary of the church were quite inaccessible to him, too. I live in India, where Christianity is a tiny minority — less than three percent of the population of 1.2 billion. But that is still 28 million people, large enough for us to form a unique subculture of public worship that excludes outsiders. While the gospel tells us that God came looking for the lost, many worship services I had participated in functionally told me that the “lost” had to decipher the cryptic code of our worship services and work really hard in order to find God. Once I recognized this tension,...
Pastor David Fernandes, Living Word Church, NewFrontiers India reviews “Grace of God and Flaws of Men” written by Anand Mahadevan, Lead Pastor, New City Mumbai

Pastor David Fernandes, Living Word Church, NewFrontiers India reviews “Grace of God and Flaws of Men” written by Anand Mahadevan, Lead Pastor, New City Mumbai

One of the things I thoroughly enjoy doing on my leave is to take a pile of unread books to read at my leisure. As good fortune would have it Anand Mahadevan presented me with a copy of his debut book the title of which is given above a week before I went on my annual holiday. And what an engaging treat of a read it has been. As the title suggests this book is about God and His interplay in the lives of 3 OT stalwarts : Abraham, Isaac and Jacob . I’m in the habit of underlining words, insights, stories , concepts that strike me as I read. But no sooner after I started reading I had a problem. I was smitten : the book is dripping with sharp new insights – at least for me – and I found myself continuously underlining sentence after sentence . Reading this book began to give me a complex. Had I really read Genesis? Anand has literally stripped these 3 men of God bare or should I say naked. All their flaws including their patterns of lying, self centeredness, deception, sexual lusts etc., amplified in one chapter after another makes it stark. Refreshingly God’s lavish and mysterious grace comes to rescue them over and over again. The interplay of flaws and grace is provocative to say the least. And the dazzling beauty of the gospel as Anand puts it is clearly expounded in all its glory. Anand is an outstanding story-teller. Story tellers know how to grip your attention. To this narrative skill Anand brings his writing ability, honed as...
How not to be a super mom…and how to be one

How not to be a super mom…and how to be one

By Roshni Mathew Beyonce just shut down the stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival with her incredible performance. From the Balmain designed outfits to the dance routines planned and executed to near perfection, the guest  performers at her show ranged from her husband Jay Z to her sister Solange to the grand surprise of reuniting with her bandmates from Destiny’s Child. The entire performance was a spectacle that it earned itself the name “Beychella”. Apart from being reigned as the “Queen B” of pop, Beyonce is also a wife and a mother to a 6 year old girl and 10 month old twins, who she gave birth to just 2 weeks before I gave birth to my daughter. But look at her – Coachella performer and everything, while I barely manage to wash my hair once a week. Social media has given me a peek into the beautiful world of celebrity moms and sometimes they make it seem so easy. Beyonce, Chrissy Tiegen, the Kardashians, Kate Middleton or on our home soil, Lisa Haydon or Kareena Kapoor make motherhood look easy.  Kareena Kapoor suddenly has abs and when I see her I ask God, “where are my abs?” Instead, I see in the mirror a chubby tummy with stretch marks. But realistically, it isn’t as easy as Beyonce or Chrissy Teigen or Kim K make it out to be, but it is still one of the most beautiful experiences I have had the joy and privilege to experience. Between balancing the expectations of how I should raise my daughter, to managing the home to wanting to...
Betrayal

Betrayal

– Roshni Mathew It is never easy to cope with betrayal. It hurts.       This morning, as part of my daily Bible reading (which is a part of my Church Community’s bible reading plan), I read Ezekiel 16. The book of Ezekiel captures God’s words to his beloved nation of Israel during the time they were captured by another country and sent into exile. Ezekiel captures the heart of God’s deep yearning and desire for his beloved Israel. Today’s chapter used the graphic imagery of a child, who without being washed or cleansed at birth, was thrown out in an open field. God, who is seen as a passer-by, sees this child and says “Live”. Later, as a child who had matured, God makes this child his own, using the imagery of a man taking this once despised child to be his bride. God says (in verses 9 to 13) that he washed this woman and cleansed her, bathed her and gave her clothes and ornaments to wear. He fed her finest of food, so much so that she becomes very beautiful and rose to be queen. So fine was her beauty, her fame spread. This is the type of love story we’d all love to be a part of, wouldn’t we? I love makeovers, because it gives me hope of change and being redeemed from being fallen. It gives me hope that someone so despised and rejected is made queen! But this beautiful queen goes and offers herself to other men, and behaves in a manner worse than a prostitute; she pays men to sleep with her, rather...
Attention Please

Attention Please

– Roshni Mathew A few months after my brother was born, as was the custom, my parents took my brother and me to our grandparents’ place. It’s a small village where the young male baby is given much attention and pampered with love and gifts. Being the first child I was used to being the centre of attention wherever I went. So this visit was strange to me because someone else other than me was considered the cutest. I was not being given the attention I wanted! That was the first time I plotted the ruin of a person. So one night they laid him down on the cot while they were chit chatting with guests. When no one was watching me, I watched his chubby smiling face, and I tried pushing him off the bed hoping he’d stop being the centre of attention. I pushed as hard as I could, but he was quite a heavy and healthy baby so luckily I didn’t succeed. Now, two decades have gone by since this incident, my brother and I have changed so much, but one thing remains the same. I’m still an attention monger like I used to be. Presently, the person who bears the brunt of my insecurity is my husband. I often throw a tantrum around him to get his attention. As much as I complain that I’m not getting enough attention from my loved ones, this morning it occurred to me that someone else has also been jealous of my time and attention. Just how I don’t like it when I’m not given attention, I don’t give attention to...